By Eirian Hallinan
If you’re only going to have one essential oil in your medicine cabinet, then tea tree oil should most certainly be it.
The oil, which comes from the leaves of the Melaleuca alternifolia plant, has been used for decades to treat everything from fungal infections and skin injuries to allergies. How is this possible? It’s likely due to tea tree oil’s antibacterial, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antifungal properties.
Along with its medicinal uses, tea tree oil has also been found to have a myriad of other helpful uses around the house and even as part of your personal grooming routine.
The following are the 6 best uses for tea tree oil.
1. Treating Fungal Infections
Various studies have found tea tree oil may be beneficial for treating fungal infections, such as athlete’s foot and nail fungus. Though 100 percent tea tree oil is recommended for treating nail fungus, applying undiluted tea tree oil to sensitive skin may cause irritation. You can dilute it as needed and apply to the affected area twice a day. A 10 percent cream or ointment applied daily for 6 month is recommended for treating athlete’s foot.
2. Treating Acne
Research has found that tea tree oil may effectively treat acne. One comparative study found that 5 percent tea tree oil gel worked almost as well as a product containing 5 percent benzoyl peroxide. The tea tree oil gel was also found to have fewer side effects.
3. Treating Cuts and Scrapes
You can help minor cuts and scrapes heal faster and prevent infection by applying diluted tea tree oil twice a day. You can purchase antibacterial cream, gel, or ointment containing tea tree oil, or apply 100 prevent tea tree oil to your cuts and scrapes.
4. Taking the Itch Out of Mosquito Bites
Apply a dab of 100 percent tea tree oil to mosquito bites and other insect stings to help alleviate the itching and irritation commonly associated with stings and bites.
5. Cleaning Your Home
By mixing approximately 10 ml of tea tree oil to a cup of water in a spray bottle you’re left with a safe and natural all-purpose cleaner that can be used to keep surfaces around your home clean and free of germs and mold. To make your natural cleaner smell great just add 10 ml of lavender, lemon, or your favorite essential oil fragrance. Tea tree oil also comes in handy in the laundry room. By adding 2 or 3 drops to your laundry, you can remove harsh odors and stains.
6. Treating Dandruff
Shampoo containing a 2.5 solution of tea tree oil can help you get rid of dandruff and help with other minor scalp irritation. There are several tea tree oil shampoos on the market, or you could make your own 2 percent solution by adding 10 drops of tea tree oil to 8 ounces of shampoo.
Though tea tree can be applied to the skin and even diluted and used as a rinse to treat thrush and other mouth, gum, and dental issues, it should NOT be consumed. Tea tree oil can be poisonous if consumed. If consumed, contact your local poison control center right away.